Located in a land conservancy, a collection of wood-clad cubes orient toward a pond at the bottom of a sloped site. These eight forms touch the ground lightly and follow the topography of the land, linked by glass enclosed hallways. Their simple shapes are strong silhouettes in an agricultural landscape, organized in a shifting grid akin to agricultural plots in the area. The slatted weathered hemlock cladding is a nod to the utilitarian barn structures that dot the local landscape.
From the drive approach, the house gives little away, solid and almost bunker-like with entry flanked by a concrete wall and high clerestory. Entering through a glass “bridge” allows a glimpse of the pond beyond. Designed as a remote working studio for a photographer, the single room structures are divided by function—live, work, sleep. A detached pair of cubes houses a photography studio and darkroom. Living, dining and bedrooms comprise another cluster, centered around a shared outdoor space. There is a porosity to the interior world of this retreat. Glass hallways link the boxes and transform into open air bridges. Full-height picture windows and ventilation openings align for expansive views to the landscape. The result is privacy between the different programmatic elements in each cube, with a visual layering of space as the land is slowly revealed.
Artist Retreat received a 2016 Residential Architect Design Award from Architect magazine, and a 2017 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.